Saturday, November 24, 2007

COMMENT: Overington wins unculture wars with one slap!!!

In a NewMatilda article earlier this week, yours truly made the following prediction ...

Caroline Overington will convert to Judaism, only to be rebuffed by the new Federal Member for Wentworth.
If news reports coming out from Wentworth are correct, my prediction may have proven prophetic. Well, sort of. Read this ...

Polling booth attendants and voters were shocked to see Ms Overington stride up to Mr Newhouse, strike him across the face and then walk away, those who saw the incident told AAP. One witness at the Bellevue Hill Public school polling booth said Ms Overington yelled abuse and appeared furious.

"At first we thought who was this woman yelling at Newhouse, then she slapped him and we realised it was Caroline Overington,'' the witness said."There was an incident and we are considering our options,'' Mr Newhouse's spokeswoman said.

"It was Ms Overington,'' she said.

Overington is one of the most important cogs in the neo-Conservative wheel at the heart of editorial and op-ed universe at The Australian. If the above-cited report is true, one wonders if genuine conservatives in Coalition circles (if any are left) would want to be associated with this cabal in the future.

As a White Ribbon Day Ambassador, I would like to remind Caroline that violence against women is not acceptable. Nor is violence against men.

In short, get a grip!

Words © 2007 Irfan Yusuf

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Friday, November 23, 2007

BLOGS: More good taste from Tim Blair and his buddies ...

Each Saturday, the Daily Telegraph devotes an entire page to the slightly amusing rant of its opinion editor, Tim Blair.

Why they hired Tim, I will never know. Perhaps the Tele enjoy drinking the dregs of the Bulletin's beer. Or maybe they enjoy consuming the fish that ACP Publishing rejects?

At the bottom of Blair's column, you will find words inviting Tele readers to join the discussion at his blog. And what interesting discussion it is. Such intelligent conversation. Such sober reflection on the issues. And absolutely free of personal attacks and innuendo. Here's a sample of comments from a recent posting ...

Irfan needs his meds. Is there a nurse on duty here?
Posted by
Ash_ on 2007 11 22 at 10:19 AM • permalink

Irfan is at the least two-faced. Dishonest is a good description of him. He has also shown himself to be a thug.

As I’ve written before, ugly inside and out
and occasionally the veneer slips and we see that ugliness inside.

You’ve done your dash, Irfan.
Posted by
kae on 2007 11 22 at 04:58 PM • permalink

Irfan is a fat Pakistani pancake. It is strange that for a lawyer he always threatens to sue one if they make a criticism about him. I am no lawyer but one thinks his behaviour is comparable to that of a ten year old bully in the playground threatening to punch you if you say something about him.
Posted by
genius on 2007 11 22 at 05:06 PM • permalink

Irfan Yusuf has been fairly accused of
and deception.

I would encourage readers to ... learn
more about Irfan’s true colours. These will give valuable insight into why Tim
wouldn’t give him the time of day (hence why Irfan so resents Tim).

I know he’s reading this, and he knows full-well what he’s done, but Irfan Yusuf is too antisocial and intellectually dishonest do say or do anything about it other than create sockpuppets and lie, all the while encouraging menace against people he’s never met.
Posted by
Dan Lewis on 2007 11 22 at 06:02 PM • permalink

This surely is the level of discussion David Penberthy and Roger Coombs would like to see their newspaper associated with. Or is it? Do they know this stuff is being written and moderated on blogs of a newspaper they edit?

Here's how one of Blair's friends addresses retiring Federal Member for Lindsay Jackie Kelly ...

And what part of shut the fuck up, you stupid fucking bint, apologise and then fuck off from whence you came, doesn’t this sun damaged harridan understand?
Posted by
Infidel Tiger on 2007 11 21 at 09:14 PM • permalink

Charming. Interestingly enough, neither Blair nor his commenters actually disagree with the text of the leaflet. Their only concern is that it was an act of political stupidity. And given their virulent hatred to anything and everything linked to Islam, why would Blair and his cohorts attack the fake brochure's contents? As one commenter puts it ...

Incredibly idiotic, however a fair amount of the content of the leaflet is accurate, and the Liberal party is too limp-dicked to say so. The ALP totally fucked SW Sydney by filling it with tribal primitives from the Levant, and have benefitted with safe seats at great cost to the rest of the country. Grassby et al should have their kidneys ripped out and set on fire.
Posted by
Habib on 2007 11 21 at 09:31 PM • permalink
... and this charming person ...
THe leaflets spot on, but faking election material is a C U Next Tuesday act.
Posted by
Infidel Tiger on 2007 11 21 at 09:33 PM • permalink
... and back to "Habib" for a second go ...
If they had any brains and wanted to turn this idiocy to their advantage, they should publish the leaflet with a “fake but true” disclaimer and wedge Labor over Islam/multiculturalism. Unfortunately they don’t have the ‘nads, ditto over “climate change”; Howard at the NPC played fottsie with the assembled true believer journos when questioned over this issue, rather than saying what he obviously believes- that the whole thing is bollocks, and we aren’t going to waste a razoo on a fantasy- while the rest of the world is pissing money up a rope on unworkable solutions to a non-existant problem, we’re going to keep on digging up coal and pumping oil, and will eventually buy the rest of the planet (or at least the tasty bits, the Sand Goblins can have France).
Posted by
Habib on 2007 11 21 at 11:11 PM • permalink
All of these commenters reflect the same opinion which is clearly also shared by Blair himself i.e. that the contents of the pamphlet were true even if the pamphlet itself was a fake.

Now some of you might be wondering what sorts of people Blair allows on his blog. And what sorts of comments he moderates. At least one of his regulars really is a full-blown white-supremacist ...

The leaflet does contain many elements of truth, particularly when it refers to Keating (and be extension “leaping” Leo Mcleay) overriding advice and arranging for Sheik shit-for-brains to stay in Australia for cheap electoral gain. As an aside, I received this mysterious letter in October, it was unsigned with no sender details.
Posted by
darrinhV2 on 2007 11 21 at 11:18 PM • permalink

DarrinV2 is none other than neo-Nazi Darrin Hodges of the self-styled one-man-band called the Anglo-Australian National Community Council.

But of course, it isn't just Blair's neo-Nazi friends who engage in this kind of pleasant banter. Blair himself is known to use his blog to address the issue, not the man.

Irfan arrived in Australia about 38 years and 120 kilograms ago ...
Here's some free legal advice to Nationwide News. You might have over 100 employees. But you can still sack Blair. Surely his behaviour constitutes sufficient misconduct to enable you to dismiss him without notice. Alternatively, surely his imbecilic commentary reflects on your paper and therefore could be used as an operational basis for dismissing him.

He's a liability. Get rid of him before he costs you hundreds of thousands of dollars in unnecessary legal fees.

Words © 2007 Irfan Yusuf

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CRIKEY: Not the first time ALP candidates have been "smeared" with Islam

If there’s one person who won’t be surprised at senior Liberal Party figures being caught red-handed distributing allegedly Islamic material in a marginal Western Sydney seat, it is former ALP candidate for Greenway Ed Husic.

The nominally Bosnian Muslim background of this Australian-born ALP staffer was used as a wedge by various people on the conservative side. In a speech to the Sydney Institute on 19 October, 2005 (the full text of which can be read here), Husic told his audience of this experience:

Just before election-day, I learned about the distribution of another pamphlet, this one claiming that I was a devout Muslim fighting for a better deal for Islam in Greenway.

The sheet was a dummied version of one of my campaign ads, designed to mislead a reader into believing it was put out by me.

I was also told there was a phone banking campaign that repeatedly rang voters with identified strong religious beliefs to let them know that I was Muslim ...

These events just reaffirmed in my mind a thought that had travelled with me through the campaign – the way that continual, sometimes supposedly neutral, references to religion were conveniently helping to underscore what people believed to be my big negative.
Husic doesn’t openly blame his Liberal opponents for this ugly incident. He couldn’t see members of the NSW Liberal Party State Executive or spouses of retiring Liberal MP’s distributing this material.

The Daily Telegraph described the pamphlet as
... clumsily worded and ended with 'Ala Akba', a dismal attempt at the traditional Islamic salute of 'God is Great' - 'Allah Akbar'.
Perhaps pamphlet authors had taken Arabic lessons from Tele columnist Piers Akerman, who himself has used similarly clumsy wording in the past.

This incident shows just how marginalised Muslims have become in Australia. Both major parties happily court fringe Christian groups, yet neither party answered the survey of one (albeit tiny) Muslim political action group. In the popular mindset, building mosques and suicide terrorist attacks are all linked.

Returning to Ed Husic:
[On] election-day, I heard voters being told they should support my opponent because she is a "good Christian". Obviously there was a big, organised effort to keep this issue alive. Was Ed a real dinkum Aussie? Could he be relied on? Would he be fighting for you or for Islam?

First published in the Crikey! daily alert for Thursday 23 November 2007.

Words © 2007 Irfan Yusuf

Sunday, November 18, 2007

COMMENT: It's good to see someone is benefiting from the NT intervention ...

Apparently the only way a government can fight child abuse in indigenous communities is to put aside the Commonwealth Racial Discrimination Act. Yep, welcome to 21st century Australian conservatism. Where 3 decades of bipartisan legislative consensus can be thrown aside with little complaint from either side.

This exraordinary legislation was passed at lightening speed through both Houses of Federal Parliament in mid-August. We are told that indigenous Aussies are benefitting from the intervention. That may well be true. But there is one group certainly benefitting.

The Weekend Australian Financial Review reported on 18-19 August 2007 that ...
Commonwealth public servants have leapt at the offer of a $37,000 allowance to work as "business managers" in remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory, but there are concerns about whether they have the commitment and expertise for the job.

At $37K a pop, who needs commitment? The report continues ...

The business managers will be the government's representatives on the ground following the takeover of NT Aboriginal communities.
Heck, I'd jump at the opportunity of grabbing a $37,000 payrise just to 'represent' the Commonwealth up north. Here, Mr Brough, you can have my CV!

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Mal Brough said this past week that 300 applications for the positions had been received, far more than the government was looking for ...

Placements are for a period of up to 12 months, with the managers given the opportunity to return home every three months.

And what to the people on the ground, most affected by the intervention, think of all this?

But indigenous communities, which have to hand over control to these outsiders, have questioned how these public servants will perform and complained of lack of details regarding their duties ...

At one of the targetted communities, Yirrkala, council co-ordinator Adrian Rota expressed frustration at a lack of detail regarding the business managers.

The Laynhapuy Homelands Association represents 19 "outstation" Aboriginal communities in north-east Arnham Land ... Deputy CEO Ric Norton said the recruitment could attract ambitious but unsuitable public servants.

Kevin Rudd has already committed the ALP to continuing with the intervention should his party win next Saturday. Let's hope a Labor victory leads to a greater degree of consultation with the communities on the ground.

Words © 2007 Irfan Yusuf

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

COMMENT: Yet another terrorism intelligence bungle ...

Izhar al-Haque is an exception to the rule. He willingly handed his jihadi training documents to the authorities. He did this years before any prosecution or ASIO interrogation were on the horizon.

Most terror suspects find themselves in the dock thanks to information provided to the authorities from external sources. Well, not quite external sources. Generally the information comes from people within their congregations. People who attend their mosques. Muslim people.

Ordinary citizens who just happen to observe the requirements of their faith to some extent. And who regard it as their religious duty to ensure their families and neighbours and nation are secure from "fitna" and "fasad" (words used in Arabic, Turkish, Urdu and other languages commonly spoken by huge chunks of the Islamic world to describe chaos and terror).

I wonder whether they’ll be so willing after reading for months about the Haneef investigation that revealed AFP investigators having little or no understanding of basic aspects of South Asian cultures. AFP investigators who didn’t realise that Urdu (not "Udo" as they put it) was the name of a language. And now they find the prosecution of the future-Dr Haque has been thrown out after ASIO agents were accused of engaging in kidnapping and the evidence they gathered largely inadmissible.

Add to this revelations that AFP agents were directed to charge as many people as possible with a view to testing the new beefed-up anti-terrorism laws. Sally Neighbour writes in The Australian on 13 November 2007:
A SENIOR counter-terrorism officer with the Australian Federal Police has testified that police were directed to charge "as many suspects as possible" with terrorism offences in order to test the new anti-terrorism laws introduced in 2003.
The admission was made by federal agent Kemuel Lam Paktsun, the senior case officer on the Operation Newport investigation that led to the arrest of Sydney medical student Izhar Ul-Haque, whose trial was sensationally dismissed in the NSW Supreme Court yesterday.
Mr Lam Paktsun's startling testimony came during a pre-trial hearing on October 24 that has not previously been reported, when he was questioned about the circumstances of Mr Ul-Haque's arrest in April 2004.
"At the time, we were directed, we were informed, to lay as many charges under the new terrorist legislation against as many suspects as possible because we wanted to use the new legislation," he testified.
"So regardless of the assistance that Mr Ul-Haque could give, he was going to be prosecuted, charged, because we wanted to test the legislation and lay new charges, in our eagerness to use the legislation."
The frank admission was made under cross-examination during a hearing to test the admissibility of two AFP interviews conducted with Mr Ul-Haque, who was charged with receiving training from the terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Toiba in January and February 2003.
I’ll bet many ordinary Aussies who tick the "Muslim" box on their census forms are feeling very alarmed. So will many of their neighbours and friends who tick other boxes or no box in particular.

Millions have been spent to "beef up" security. And what has been achieved? Failed prosecution after failed prosecution. And a bunch of ABC comics getting through APEC security barricades worth millions.

But heck, why should the Federal Government care? After all, it’s not their money that’s being spent. It’s our money.

And it’s our security being compromised as our intelligence services don’t behave in an intelligent fashion. The only thing standing in the way of botched-up intelligence is an independent judiciary. We can thank God/G-d/Allah/ Khudah/etc for that. But when it comes to our counter-terrorism services, we should be very alarmed.

I hope that, in the event of a real terrorist plot, they are far more alert.

First published on the Crikey daily alert for 13 November 2007.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

COMMENT: Damnit Janet! haven't you heard of the common law?

It’s official. When it comes to law, Janet Albrechtsen is no conservative. Here’s why.

Albrechtsen’s spray on the ALP and ‘activist’ judges the other day is evidence (if ever any was needed) that she simply doesn’t believe in the English common law tradition. She writes:

The Howard Government has stacked the High Court with stodgy conservative judges. You know the type. Judges who have that old-fashioned view about democracy under which politicians and the people make the laws and judges implement them.

She summarises the impact of judge-made law as follows:

There is little predictability or certainty. The rule of law becomes no obstacle for significant social change.

Albrechtsen must have skipped her undergraduate law lecture where the concept of common law as judge-made law was explained. Then again, given the key role the common law plays in Australian law, it seems Albrechtsen may have skipped attending lectures altogether.

I guess Albrechtsen must be opposed to the various Sale of Goods Act legislated in the various Australian states and territories as well as at Commonwealth level. Those acts involved codification of basic commercial law developed by English judges over centuries. As far back as 1988, the NSW Law Reform Commission noted that noted that the preamble to these Acts mention their intention “to codify ... the law relating to the sale of goods". You’d think someone with a PhD in commercial law would know that.

Albrechtsen must also be opposed to basic common law concepts such as negligence, the result of nasty left-wing Che Guevara-worshipping House of Lords judges like Lord Atkin in the 1932 English decision of Donoghue –v- Stevenson. I mean, look what happens when activist judges give judicial expression to the “Good Samaritan” propaganda of that radical communist Jesus Christ, as reported in Chapter 10 of the revolutionary extremist manual known as The Gospel According to Luke.

Albrechtsen goes further, rallying against

... progressive judges who have staked out their preference for ambiguous human rights and international law.
She resents the appointment of judges committed to nasty trendy left-wing types of causes. You know. Communist socialist anarchist leftist PC-ist causes like human rights.

The horror! Judges standing up for human rights? And judges making law as they have been for over 1,000 years?? We’d better start donning “Howard-07” t-shirts as

Labor may end up appointing judges who have nothing but disdain for politicians and parliament and, yes, the people.

True conservatives support the status quo, and insist on only gradual change. By almost wanting to do away with the traditional role of the common law, Albrechtsen has shown why (at least in legal matters) she is a radical revolutionary.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

OBITUARY: Peter Andren MP

I only bought Peter Andren's autobiography some months back at a book fair in Canberra. I'm about one-third of the way through it.

I never had the chance to meet Mr Andren. But I wish I had been there when he stood up in Parliament and spoke his mind on so-called border protection in 2001. And on the Iraq war in 2003. And on so many other issues.

Andren's death forced me to think about my own mortality. It also made me think about some of the crazy political allegiences I once held and the company I once kept.

We live and we learn. Some of the lessons Peter Andren taught me unconsciously and from a distance can be found here.

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un. From God we come. To God we ultimately return.

CRIKEY: Tampa docking in Camden??

Back in 2001, the Liberal Party chose an optometrist from Camden as candidate for the Auburn state by-election. From what I saw of her, she didn’t have any hint of sectarian or racial prejudice. And how could she in a State seat with such an enormous range of different ethnic and religious groups. That by-election was on Saturday 8 November. Three days later, everything changed.

You’d think a proposal to build a school in a small semi-rural village on the outskirts of Sydney would be just another planning issue. The Council would advertise the plan, residents might raise objections based on parking or traffic or whatever. What could religion possibly have to do with it?

I have a mate who lives in Camden. He enjoys grunge rock, likes to surf, does a little farming with his mum and parties a fair bit. And he happens to be of Muslim heritage. Last night, he told me:

I went to school with half of these people. Many are people I’d consider mates.
Believe it or not, Muslims have their sectarian prejudices. Many Muslims in Bankstown who always come out in support of extensions to the local Buddhist temple will simply refuse any application from the pro-Syrian Lebanese al-Ahbash sect. When the sect wanted to build a complex in Bass Hill, few Muslims outside the sect rallied behind it.

That proposal also showed some very un-Christian attitudes from Fred Nile’s Christian Democratic Party. Their press release speaks of "educational apartheid" and claims kids at the school would have "zero contact" with other kids. The allegedly Christian Democrats are again out in force at Camden, joining a coalition of other far-Right fruitloops, such as this chap. And so we have the legitimate concerns of a small community are being hijacked by the far-Right, a coalition of Christian fundamentalists, white supremacists and neo-Nazis getting together to fight "Islamic extremism".

For many in Camden, this will be the first time they will come face to face with Muslims. Well, actually it won’t. My Camden mate tells me he knows some 70 Muslim families in Camden, mostly professionals or small business people who enjoy the semi-rural lifestyle and/or aren’t interested in paying through the nose for their rent or mortgage. And because they have completely "integrated" , you don’t even notice they’re there.

So where do these Camden Muslims fit into the picture? My friend said:

They don’t. People are too scared to go to the public meeting. They know outsiders have taken over the debate, and they don’t wanna get lynched by their neighbours.
Federal Liberal MP Pat Farmer was at the rally. He claims much opposition to the school development isn’t racist. I believe him. But his is now a marginal seat. I’m sure he would have been on the phone to the PM afterwards. Will this become another Tampa? Will we see Howard promising to use federal powers to overcome planning decisions of local councils?

I guess it depends on how desperate Howard gets. Watch this space.

(First published in the Crikey daily alert for Wednesday 7 November 2007.)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

COMMENT: Camden planning debate hijacked by wackos ...

The people of Camden, a small town on the outskirts of south western Sydney, have every right to debate the merits or otherwise of any major development in their town. No doubt many will be concerned about a new McDonalds restaurant as much as they would be worried about a 1,200-pupil school.

Sadly, the legitimate concerns of Camden folk are being hijacked by wacky far-Right types. The Winds of Jihad blog of Muslim-hater Sheik Yer'mami includes a number of posts from Darrin Hodges of the self-styled Anglo-Australian National Community Council. Hodges has been distributing hate material in the Camden local area. His blog includes links to far-Right racist groups including MEMRI and anti-Semitic American commentator Ann Coulter. One post on his blog claims that Islam is in the process of invading Camden.

When outsiders try to infiltrate local debates with a view of spreading sectarian hatred, the results can be a divisiveness that can be difficult to control and that diverts attention away from the real merits of the debate.

Already, issues of race and religion have entered the discussion, as can be seen on the online forums here and in the Camden Advertiser's blog here.

If only this could be treated simply as an issue of local community involvement in Council planning decisions. But sadly, rednecks are busy spreading their infantile prejudices on the rest of us. Now all we need is for John Howard to see a possible wedge and parachute himself into this debate with a view to scoring some desperately-needed votes. Then again, maybe Camden voters will realise that Howard's pet prejudices are not going to help them make their mortgage repayments increased due to interest rates Howard's 2004 election promise couldn't keep down ...